Throwback Book Review: Boxcar Children #73

Welcome to my weekly throwback book review! Each week I’ll be rereading and reviewing one or two books from my childhood. I was a huge reader as a child and these books shaped my life. I couldn’t possibly get rid of them, so I still have a large collection that I am sharing with all of you in the form of reviews.

#73 The Gymnastics Mystery: The kids are hosting a young gymnast from Russia named Katya for a local gymnastics competition (because why not come all the way from Russia to Greenfield, Connecticut). From the moment they pick her up at the airport, strange things start happening. A man takes her bag, mistaking it for his, and shows up irate at their door demanding his back. Even stranger, he shows up at Katya’s gymnastic practices as a journalist.

Things quickly start going bad for Katya, with her warm up clothes being soaked with water and her music going missing, as well as a mysterious figure following them around. Is someone trying to sabotage her? Katya also has a strange connection with a gold box the children see a picture of in a letter from home, and also find in a local pawn shop. Katya refuses to talk about her home, changing the subject whenever it comes up, so the Aldens are determined to get to the bottom of this.

It turns out that their friend the journalist doesn’t actually work for the newspaper, so his presence at the gymnastic meet is concerning. He’s the number one suspect until the mother of one of the other girls apologizes to Katya for her pranks, she just wanted her daughter to win instead.

However, the fake journalist is up to something. It turns out he was in Russia and stole a fancy gold box from a mansion, where there was a portrait of a girl who looked a lot like Katya. So he assumed that when she had his bag, she stole the box back and he had been trying to follow her to get it. Except a random man had overheard his plans to sell it and stole it out of his car, pawning it.

Katya admits that the portrait is definitely not of her, since she lives in a tiny apartment with her entire family and had been ashamed of how poor she was compared to the riches she saw in the US.

The thieves are apprehended by the police, Katya wins her competition, and she and the Aldens go for some good old American pizza in a nice happy ending.

I didn’t remember this one much at all, it’s the second to last book I bought so I didn’t have the time to reread it as much as the older books. It seems generally forgettable. One funny part I did enjoy was that all of their suspects were wearing blue sweatpants at one time or another, and it really bothered Jessie. In the end, they see that their local sporting goods store had a sale on blue sweatpants. One more mystery solved.


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